Once I committed a couple of hours to being in the kitchen, I found my usual impatience fade and could give myself over to the afternoon’s unhurried project . . . There’s something about such work that seems to alter the experience of time. . . It seems to me that one of the great luxuries of life at this point is to be able to do one thing at a time, one thing to which you give yourself wholeheartedly. Unitasking.
Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
I spend a marathon day in the kitchen canning tomatoes and salsa. My back is aching by the time I lift the last jars from the canner. I fall into the reclining leather sofa and lean back with my book in hand, intending to read a chapter while I rest my back. Maya has another idea: now that I’m not busy in the kitchen she wants some attention. Who am I to argue with that?
I leave the comfort of the sofa and crawl down onto the floor. She drops her pink stuffie front of me, puts one tiny paw on the corner of it, and looks up with mischief in her eyes. Let’s play! In a swift move, I grab the toy from her and toss it toward the kitchen. She fetches, and rolls around playing with it for a minute or two, then dares me to take it from her again. And again. And again.
Gerry returns from the store with an Iced Capp from Tim Hortons for me. I sip, and throw Maya’s toy, and watch the beautiful images on The Frame TV channel, content—and weary—after a good day’s work. After I’ve finished enjoying the delicious Iced Capp, we head out to the hot tub where the warm water soothes my aching body, and the good conversation the hot tub always elicits, soothes my soul.
Later we enjoy a plate of nachos with some of the fresh salsa, and settle in to watch a couple of episodes of our new favourite Netflix show, Shetland. I doze partway through the second one, as I do most nights, but rouse enough and in time to figure out what I missed before it’s over.
Day is done and good work has been accomplished. Conversations have been had, intentions have been set, and full and beautiful canning jars adorn my kitchen counter. I sleep well, and dream of gardens and outdoor rooms.
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A little bit of wind, a little bit of rain, and the doors are open to a morning that is gloriously crisp and clear. The gift of fresh air is one you can’t fully appreciate until you’ve experienced day after day of oppressive smoke. Some sources are saying that smoky summers are our new normal—I hope they’re wrong.